Lent, Happy Ash Wednesday

I’m back from a bit of a blogging break.  Some things format-wise I’ve changed and I hope that makes my posts and links easier to read.  I’ve had a couple of people ask where my blog went and the truth is it went no where, I just made it visible to only myself.  Why did I do that?  Well, I’ve been going through some personal stuff and I just needed a moment to step back for a minute, catch a breath, and move forward.  The sadness from my mother’s birthday, combined with a couple of other disappointments, put me in a sad place for a few days.  I honestly didn’t know how long this break would last.  I didn’t know if I was going to shut the lights out on this blog forever or what.  But in the end, I knew I’d always have something to say and write about, and well, here I am.

Which leads me to the point of this post.

As I wrote in this post, I am a member of the LDS church (aka The Mormons).  I consider myself to be a Christian, and yet, I feel so lacking when it comes to the most important Christian holiday, Easter.  A lot of people believe that Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is the most important Christian holiday, but I disagree.  While I believe that Christmas is a sacred holiday and we should rejoice in the birth of our Savior (“ours” as in, Christian’s…not as in pushing my religious beliefs on the whole world), Easter is when we celebrate the Savior fulfilling his mission on earth and being resurrected.  And yet, Easter doesn’t get much lip service in my church.  I can only remember maybe a handful of Sacrament meetings that were really moving Easter productions, but that is it.

And I’m craving a more spiritual experience on Easter.  So this year, I’m observing Lent.

Years ago I was talking to the hubs’s cousin who is a practicing Catholic.  I love her to pieces and was very lucky to work with her for 3 years.  In that time we became what we called, “best cousins.”  Anyway, it was about this time of year and we got talking about Lent.  I think she had just gone to Ash Wednesday Mass and still had the ashes on her forehead at work that night.  I was asking her in depth questions about Lent and what she was going to give up, so on, and so forth.  She said that during Lent you don’t have to just give up something, you can start a new habit.  I think she said she was going to start saying daily prayers and I liked that starting something for Lent could bring you to a more spiritual place then, let’s say, just giving up ice cream for 40 days.

Last year I had an idea, I think sparked by one of my Christian friends on Facebook, about Lent and so I decided that this was something I was going to do for Easter 2012.  I’ve decided that between Ash Wednesday (today) and Holy Thursday (the usual 40 day duration for Lent), that I’m going to read the first four Gospels of the New Testament.  All of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Studying the New Testament my first year in LDS Seminary was my favorite year and I like to repeat studying the New Testament as an adult.

Because we don’t observe Lent, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday in my church, you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not going about this correctly.  Any “gentle” correction would be appreciated.  Most of what I learned about Lent I learned on the wikipedia page, and we all know that wikipedia has never steered anyone wrong .  You might ask what a Mormon gal like me is doing celebrating Lent.  No, I’m not trying to highjack a holiday that my religion lays no claim to.  What I’m trying to do is cement a further commitment in me to my Savior and the sacrifice I believe he made for me.  My spirit is craving the spiritual.

For Lent, I’ve already come up with a Scripture reading schedule and I am very excited.  I don’t think I’ve read the New Testament since high school.  During that year I studied the New Testament, I felt like I developed a strong Spiritual connection with this man named Jesus, the Christ, and I would like to feel that again.  I’m yearning for a more spiritual connection.

Then I got thinking about sacrifice and the sacrifice I believe, as a Christian, that my Savior did for me.  I believe that he bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane to atone for my sins.  I believe he hung on a cross for 3 days and died for me.  And because he made this sacrifice for me, I thought that maybe I could make a sacrifice for him, while I study his life in the Four Gospels.  So, I’ve decided to abstain from Mountain Dew for 40 days.  Now, I’ve tried to give up the Dew in the past, many, many times.  But I’ve never consecrated my desire to quit with a prayer.  I’ve never given it up in an effort to sacrifice something for my Savior.  This is why I believe I might be a bit more successful in giving it up this time.

So there it is.  I’m observing Lent this year.  I’m hoping to get something out of it, and if and when I do, I’ll write about that as well.  I don’t want Easter to just mean a new dress and a basket full of goodies for me.  I hope that by observing Lent this year Easter will mean more for me and my family.


5 thoughts on “Lent, Happy Ash Wednesday

  1. I'm glad you are back and I'm sorry for the disappointments in your life. I want to celebrate Lent with you as well and read the four Gospels. Will you share your reading schedule? Oh, and do I HAVE to give up my Mountain Dew?

  2. I love that you're doing this, Risa! I've actually been wanting to do it myself, but I haven't had a chance to look it up yet and find out what it's about. I think I'm going to go do some research… It's not too late to start, right?

  3. Good for you for being so open minded. So you know, it's not just Catholics who observe Lent… But I did grow up catholic so f I can help answer any questions feel free to ask. It's interesting that you said what you did b/c I went to a women's event with my ex-SIL at a ward one time. They were making Easter crafts and played some kind of game ( I don't remember what) but Ponctious Pilate (sp?) was a word and no one knew who that was and I was so surprised. I ended you telling the ladies around me what i knew… And they hadnt heard it before. He is a huge part of the Easter story. That's when I learned that the biblical event of Easter isn't much talked about… And like you, I believe it's the biggest holiday. It's what everything I believe is about. Ok, I rambled enough… Hopefully you get what I mean.

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